CONTACT:  Tom Whaley                              FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 287                                                07 NOV 2007


SMMUSD Choir and Orchestra Students Shine!


Twelve SMMUSD students were chosen to perform in one of three American Choral Director Association (ACDA) Western Division Honor Choirs during an upcoming February convention in Anaheim, CA. 


Alba Kane, Audrey Corsa, Jackie Murray, Aliza Abarbanel, Grace Gordon, Meghan Aguilar, Francesca Ferrara, Zach Schaefer, Demetrie Martinez, and Isadora Lim were chosen for the Jr. High/Middle School Choir, and Quinn D’Andrea and April McCollough were chosen for the Elementary Honor Choir.


The students will be given the opportunity to sing and rehearse with students from all over the western United States under the direction of well-renowned choral conductors. 


“This is a huge honor,” said their music instructor, Venessa Ventre.  “These students competed against students from all over California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah.”


The ACDA, founded in 1959, is a nonprofit music-education organization whose central purpose is to promote excellence in choral music through performance, composition, publication, research, and teaching.



Forty-five SMMUSD high school students have been selected to participate in the 2007 CODA (California Orchestra Directors Association) Honor Orchestra in Redlands, CA, in early December 2007.


Performing in the CODA String Orchestra are Alex Clouse, Hannah McGinty, Zoe McBride, Justin Yoo, Nicole Woon, Christina Kunimoto-Nakajima, Emilia Shaffer-Del Valle, Keonjik Lee, Lucy Walsh, Carolina Vasquez, Dana Levin, Aaron Pomerantz, Emily Getoff, Maki Nakamura, Max Tamahori, Rebecca Samuela, Stephanie Farzam, Erich Wieshofer, Sam Bencivengo, Yarden Shwartz, Omar Cojulun (Alternate), and Alex Davies (Alternate).


Performing in the CODA Symphony Orchestra are Connor Vance, Alan Miller, Ben Bartelt, Ellery Weiss, Emily Wong, Natalie Yadegar, David Mun, Jennifer Chyu, Krista Circenis, Laila Zakzook, Matthew Van Pelt, Mayura Jain, Tessa Waring, Jean-Michel Maldague, Maki Kubota, Dmitri Glickman, Joshua Kalmar, Richard Dobeck, Spencer Groh, Raquel Ravaglioli, Christie Glaser (Alternate), Rachel Horn (Alternate), and Sky Crane (Alternate).


“We are so proud of our students,” commented Superintendent Dianne Talarico.  “Our World Class music education is evident in these talented students and their accomplishments.”


The CODA Honor Groups are designed to provide an opportunity for talented musicians to perform challenging literature as a part of a select concert ensemble, gain experience which they can share with their own school groups, and realize inherent value in working with peers from other areas.  For more information regarding CODA, please visit



Three SMMUSD students have been invited to participate in the 2008 National High School Honors Orchestra (NHSHO), a competition hosted by the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in late February 2008.


David Martinez, Bobby Birstock, and Ben Bartelt have been invited to be a part of this exciting event.  These students, along with approximately 120 other students, will perform at the ASTA national conference.


The mission of the National High School Honors Orchestra is to competitively select the most talented young musicians from school orchestras in each state to assemble biennially and perform in a national showcase, playing music from the professional orchestral literature under the direction of an internationally recognized conductor. The students working toward excellence in the NHSHO are inspired to carry that excellence back to their own schools and on to a musical future.





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